One, two, three, four . . .Tastes Like S’mores Cake


One, two, three, four . . . just four steps to Tastes Like S’mores Cake! It is a bit complicated but it is “oh, so” worth it!
·    1st layer – a traditional graham cracker crust that goes in a cake pan rather than a pie plate.
·    2nd layer – my mom’s eggless chocolate cake with a shot of espresso added for good measure.
·    3rd layer – a traditional ganache that is allowed to cool (to somewhat thicken) and then smoothed on the cake as both a filling and frosting.
·    4th layer – homemade marshmallow fluff frosting. Need I say more? But, actually I’m not done; skewered and toasted marshmallows are the final addition.


Tastes Like S’mores Cake    Makes one 2-layer cake
Graham Cracker Layer
1½ cups graham crackers, ground
¼ cup granulated sugar
4 tablespoons butter, melted

1.  Spray or grease two 9″ cake pans.
2.  Mix graham crackers crumbs with sugar and melted butter. Divide and press into the bottoms of the two prepared cake pans. Set aside.

Chocolate Cake Layer
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 cups sifted flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon instant espresso coffee powder, optional
2/3 cup canola oil
2 cups water
2 tablespoons white vinegar
2 teaspoons vanilla

1.  Preheat oven to 350°.
2.  Combine sugar and cocoa in a large mixing bowl; whisk to thoroughly mix. Add flour, salt, baking soda, and instant espresso powder and blend all dry ingredients thoroughly.
3.  Add the liquids and mix until completely blended.
4.  Pour batter into two graham cracker crust lined cake pans. Gently raise and drop cake pans to release air bubble.
5.  Bake for 30 to 35 minutes – toothpick inserted in center of cake should come out clean

6.  Transfer cakes to cooling rack. When cool, run a knife along the sides of pan and turn upside down to release.

To assemble:
1.  Place a layer without graham cracker on plate (graham cracker crust should be up). If top of cake is too rounded, it can be trimmed. Truthfully – at this point I couldn’t decide whether to put the graham cracker crust up or down; either way would work.
2.  Spread layer of somewhat cooled and thickened ganache on top of cake.
I arranged strips of waxed paper under the cake. Once the cake is frosted, these were pulled out -- leaving a clean cake plate underneath.
3. Place second cake, graham cracker side down on ganache. (Trim if needed before
    putting in place.)
4.  Frost side and top.
5.  Pile marshmallow frosting on top of cake, creating patterns and peaks with an off-set
     spatula.
6.  Use a long stemmed lighter, or torch to toast the marshmallow fluff frosting.
7.  Garnish – skewer marshmallows on wooden sticks and toast. Insert, at varying
    heights, onto the top of the cake.


Chocolate Ganache
12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
½ cup heavy cream
½ teaspoon instant espresso coffee powder, optional

1.  Cook the chocolate chips, heavy cream, and instant coffee in the top of a double boiler over simmering water until smooth and warm, stirring occasionally.
2.  Cool enough to slightly thicken and use to fill and frost cake.

Marshmallow Fluff Frosting
4 large egg whites, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla

1.  Whisk egg white, sugar and cream of tartar lightly in the top of a double boiler.
2.  Heat over simmering water, mixing continuously to avoid cooking the egg.
3.  Bring to 160° (in order to kill possible salmonella); remove from heat immediately and beat starting at low speed and working up to high, until stiff peaks form and resembles marshmallow fluff. (I transferred the mixture to my stand mixer at this point.)
It took 5 to 10 minutes to achieve the 160° temperature. The mixture was then beaten until it reached a marshmallow fluff consistency.
4.  Fold in vanilla and spread onto cake.

Recipe without photos . . .
Scrumptious S’mores Cake    Makes one 2-layer cake
Graham Cracker Layer
1½ cups graham crackers, ground
¼ cup granulated sugar
4 tablespoons butter, melted

1.  Spray or grease two 9″ cake pans.
2.  Mix graham crackers crumbs with sugar and melted butter. Divide and press into the bottoms of the two prepared cake pans. Set aside.

Chocolate Cake Layer
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 cups sifted flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon instant espresso coffee powder, optional
2/3 cup canola oil
2 cups water
2 tablespoons white vinegar
2 teaspoons vanilla

1.  Preheat oven to 350°.
2.  Combine sugar and cocoa in a large mixing bowl; whisk to thoroughly mix. Add flour, salt, baking soda, and instant espresso powder and blend all dry ingredients thoroughly.
3.  Add the liquids and mix until completely blended.
4.  Pour batter into two graham cracker crust lined cake pans. Gently raise and drop cake pans to release air bubble.
5.  Bake for 30 to 35 minutes – toothpick inserted in center of cake should come out clean
6.  Transfer cakes to cooling rack. When cool, run a knife along the sides of pan and turn upside down to release.

To assemble:
1.  Place a layer without graham cracker on plate (graham cracker crust should be up). If top of cake is too rounded, it can be trimmed. Truthfully – at this point I couldn’t decide whether to put the graham cracker crust up or down; either way would work.
2.  Spread layer of somewhat cooled and thickened ganache on top of cake.
3.  Place second cake, graham cracker side down on ganache. (Trim if needed before putting in place.)
4.  Frost side and top.
5.  Pile marshmallow frosting on top of cake, creating patterns and peaks with an off-set spatula.
6.  Use a long stemmed lighter, or blow torch, to/toast the marshmallow
7.  Garnish – skewer marshmallows on wooden sticks and toast. Insert, at varying heights, onto the top of the cake.

Chocolate Ganache
12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
½ cup heavy cream
½ teaspoon instant espresso coffee powder, optional

1.  Cook the chocolate chips, heavy cream, and instant coffee in the top of a double boiler over simmering water until smooth and warm, stirring occasionally.
2.  Cool enough to slightly thicken and use to fill and frost cake.

Marshmallow Fluff Frosting

4 large egg whites, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla

1.  Whisk egg white, sugar and cream of tartar lightly in the top of a double boiler.
2.  Heat over simmering water, mixing continuously to avoid cooking the egg.
3.  Bring to 160° (in order to kill possible salmonella);  remove from heat immediately and beat starting at low speed and working up to high, until stiff peaks form and resembles marshmallow fluff. (I transferred the mixture to my stand mixer at this point.)
4.  Fold in vanilla and spread onto cake.

Heartland Quiche – A Kirby House favorite



    The Kirby House’s quiche is all about the filling. Crust plays a secondary role and relies on oil rather than shortening.
     Barry, who used to make quiche on the line at the restaurant, took over the crust assembly and provided lessons as he did so – “Make it thin and only go partially up the side. That’s the way Chris (LaPorte) taught me to do it,” he instructed. He did NOT use all of the crust dough to make one 8” quiche so I saved it for the next one. (I actually triple the crust recipe and keep it on hand in the fridge.)
     Heartland filling was my choice. Since then I’ve substituted other types of cheese (pepper-jack for example) and used roasted red peppers and onions for the veggie component. Of course, the Kirby House’s Vegetarian Quiche recipe, made with artichokes, is delicious as well (recipe is in The Kirby House Cookbook).
     Reheat any leftover quiche in the microwave for a quick lunch or breakfast entrée.

Quiche Dough     Makes (1) one 8 or 9 -inch quiche crust                         
¼ cup + 1 tablespoon oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon milk
Pinch of salt
 
1.  Mix above ingredients together in a mixing bowl. (It can be put in the refrigerator at this point for later use.)
2.  Press into pie pan. (I prefer to pre-bake the crust @ 350° for about 5 to 7 minutes at this point.)


Heartland Quiche filling
¼ cup ham, cubed
½ cup fresh broccoli, finely chopped
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1 recipe Egg Filling (see below)                     

1.  Preheat oven to 375°.
2.  Place ham and broccoli in crust-lined pie pan. Top with cheese.
3.  Pour filling over filling over top. 
4.  Bake at 375°for 45 minutes until golden on top and custard is set.

Egg Filling      Yield:  filling for (1) one 8 or 9” quiche           
1 1/3 cups half-and-half        
3 large eggs
Pinch black pepper (1/8 teaspoon)
Pinch  each of dry mustard & salt                                                        
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped                       

Thoroughly mix above ingredients in a mixing bowl and pour over quiche ingredients.

This is the accompanying script I added to The Kirby House Cookbook concerning this popular luncheon entrée . . .
QUICHE:  An unsweetened, open-faced custard pie served hot or cold as an appetizer or as an entree for  brunch or lunch. Quiche can be made in a conventional pie plate or pan or in a special dish called a quiche pan.
A popular luncheon item at The Kirby House, it is served with a cup of soup or a choice of side orders. Grilled Coconut Walnut Bread is a great accompaniment to this main dish made fresh daily at The Kirby House. Use the speedy dough recipe to make 12 crusts for large quantities (The Kirby House Cookbook contains the large quantity recipe) or try the downsized version for 1 crust.

Kirby House cookbooks are still available at Applemint Catering

Recipe without photos . . .
Quiche Dough     Makes (1) one 8 or 9 -inch quiche crust                                     
¼ cup + 1 tablespoon oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon milk
Pinch of salt
 
1.  Mix above ingredients together in a mixing bowl. (It can be put in the refrigerator at this point for later use.)
2.  Press into pie pan. (I prefer to pre-bake the crust @ 350° for about 5 to 7 minutes at this point.)

Heartland Quiche filling
¼ cup ham, cubed
½ cup fresh broccoli, finely chopped
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1 recipe Egg Filling (see below)                     

1.  Preheat oven to 375°.
2.  Place ham and broccoli in crust-lined pie pan. Top with cheese.
3.  Pour filling over filling over top. 
4.  Bake at 375°for 45 minutes until golden on top and custard is set.

Egg Filling      Yield:  filling for (1) one 8 or 9” quiche           
1 1/3 cups half-and-half        
3 large eggs
Pinch black pepper (1/8 teaspoon)
Pinch each of dry mustard & salt                                                     
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped                       

Thoroughly mix above ingredients in a mixing bowl and pour over quiche ingredients.

Mom’s Chocolate Sheet Cake becomes Cupcakes


     Mom’s Chocolate Sheet Cake has been turned into cupcakes! These little mini cakes use the same stove-top recipe for both cake and frosting that has become a classic pot luck and picnic favorite.
     Some recipes refer to it as Texas Sheet Cake. Being from Kansas, I’d prefer to think of it as Kansas Sheet Cake . . . or simply as Chocolate Sheet Cake. My mom’s version includes a teaspoon of cinnamon.
     The recipe that follows contains both the original sheet cake recipe and the adjustments needed to turn it into cupcakes.

Chocolate Sheet Cake or Cupcakes   Yield: 13x9x2” pan or 24 cupcakes
Cake
Put in a saucepan & bring to boil over medium heat:
   1 stick (½ cup or ¼ lb. butter
   ½ cup vegetable oil
   1 cup water
   4 tablespoons (¼ cup) unsweetened cocoa – I prefer dark chocolate cocoa
Then add:  (to the saucepan)
   2 cups all-purpose flour
   2 cups granulated sugar
Then, add and mix: (I remove the above mixture from the stove and allow it to slightly cool. To be on the safe side (that is – to avoid scrambling the eggs) drop a dollop of the cake mixture into the beaten eggs before pouring egg mixture into the cake batter.
   2 slightly beaten eggs
   ½ cup buttermilk (or sour milk)
   1 teaspoon baking soda
   1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
For sheet cake: Pour into a well greased or sprayed 13x9x2” pan. Bake 20 to 25 minutes in a 350° preheated oven; rotate pan about half way through baking. (If using a commercial half pan—allow 15 minutes baking time.) Cool partially and pour icing over top of cake; spread icing with a spatula to cover surface.
For cupcakes: Line muffin tins with cupcake liners and then ladle cake batter into tins, filling just about half full – remember that you need to have enough space for the somewhat runny frosting to settle over the cake. Bake 15 to 20 minutes in a 350° preheated oven. Use a toothpick to test center – it should come out clean when cupcake is completely baked.
Fill cupcake liners just about half full of batter. 
Notice that there is enough space left in the cupcake liner for a layer of frosting to be added. 
Icing
Heat to boiling over medium heat:
   1 stick butter
   4 tablespoons (¼ cup) unsweetened cocoa – I prefer dark chocolate cocoa
   6 tablespoons (¼ cup + 2 tablespoons) milk - I used almond milk
Then add . . .
   1 lb. powdered sugar (3 cups), sifted
   1 teaspoon vanilla
   1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts – I prefer pecans
I "sift" the powdered sugar by running it through a mesh colander. This helps produce a smooth frosting.
The powdered sugar is stirred into the cocoa and butter mixture.
I ladled a small dipper of frosting over each cupcake.
Recipe without photos . . .
Chocolate Sheet Cake or Cupcakes   Yield: 13x9x2” pan or 24 cupcakes
Cake
Put in a saucepan & bring to boil over medium heat:
   1 stick (½ cup or ¼ lb. butter
   ½ cup vegetable oil
   1 cup water
   4 tablespoons (¼ cup) unsweetened cocoa – I prefer dark chocolate cocoa

Then add:  (to the saucepan)
   2 cups all-purpose flour
   2 cups granulated sugar

Then, add and mix: (I remove the above mixture from the stove and allow it to slightly cool. To be on the safe side (that is – to avoid scrambling the eggs) drop a dollop of the cake mixture into the beaten eggs before pouring egg mixture into the cake batter.
   2 slightly beaten eggs
   ½ cup buttermilk (or sour milk)
   1 teaspoon baking soda
   1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For sheet cake: Pour into a well greased or sprayed 13x9x2” pan. Bake 20 to 25 minutes in a 350° preheated oven; rotate pan about half way through baking. Cool partially and pour icing over top of cake; spread icing with a spatula to cover surface.
For cupcakes: Line muffin tins with cupcake liners and then ladle cake batter into tins, filling just about half full – remember that you need to have enough space for the somewhat runny frosting to settle over the cake. Bake 15 to 20 minutes in a 350° preheated oven. Use a toothpick to test center – it should come out clean when cupcake is completely baked.

Icing
Heat to boiling over medium heat:
   1 stick butter
   4 tablespoons (¼ cup) unsweetened cocoa – I prefer dark chocolate cocoa
   6 tablespoons (¼ cup + 2 tablespoons)  milk - I used almond milk
Then add . . .
   1 lb. powdered sugar (3 cups), sifted
   1 teaspoon vanilla
   1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts – I prefer pecans